According to the Minister for Sustainable Development, Science and Technology, Hon. Dr. James Fletcher, there is a need for better co-ordination among the various agencies.
While the Forestry Department was able to prevent the occurrence of Beaver Dams post Hurricane Tomas, the island was disconnected due to the damaged sustained by telecommunication service providers Lime and Digicel.
The minister said the vulnerability of the island’s telecommunication system needs to be revised. Dr. Fletcher said, “In the event of a disaster such as this, we need to have roaming from one service provider to another. So in the event that Lime goes down, and Lime’s network is a fibre-optic backbone. So if there is extensive rain and the fibre-optic cables are broken, as we had in this instance, then you will have problems with Lime’s network.”
In the event of heavy winds, Dr. Fletcher pointed out, “Digicel’s network, which is a microwave network, the towers could have been toppled and Digicel would have been down.”
Dr. Fletcher said he intends to liaise with the island’s telecommunication service providers and other stakeholders in the upcoming year to ensure that a roaming system is initiated between service providers before the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season. This is to ensure, “that when one service provider has been affected, subscribers will be allowed to roam free of charge on the network of the other service provider.”
The Minister noted that this will help keep the lines of communication open and give a greater level of redundancy.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fletcher called on citizens and commercial enterprises to do a better job of solid waste management. He said, “The Solid Waste Management Authority cannot be expected to deal with the people who indiscriminately dump garbage out of a moving vehicle, or the people who throw refrigerators and all sorts of things into our rivers. Some people treat the rivers as garbage disposal sites. This is something that we have to pay close attention to. The indiscriminate disposal of garbage that are clogging up our waterways are causing a serious problem.”
Dr. Fletcher believes this a collective problem that individuals need to fix as “The flooding does not discriminate.”
Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenney D. Anthony, also indicated that refundable containers will be introduced to encourage better waste management.